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Cold and dry through Wednesday, nor'easter Thursday

Posted by David Epstein  February 11, 2014 09:21 PM

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There is a real buzz about the upcoming weather for Thursday, but here in southern New England this isn’t going to be a storm of catastrophic or historic proportions. Those words are being use to describe the system, as it impacts the southern states, where major accumulations of ice will cause hazardous driving and significant power outages.
Wednesday is a bright and cold day after another single digit temperature morning for many of you. We will see nearly 100% of the possible sunshine and you will need the sunglasses as you head to work. You will notice a few wispy clouds on the southern horizon late in the day a forerunner of the coming snow and rain.

There is a winter storm watch up for much of the area for Thursday. The precipitation begins as snow during the morning commute and then quickly overspreads the area. The storm is a nor’easter. This name is given to those storms which move up the coast and bring a northeasterly wind to the area. Some nor’easters are big snow makers while other bring a mixed bag of precipitation.

Schools and businesses are going to have a tough call to make on Thursday north of Cape Cod. Across that part of the state any snow will quickly change to rain so travel will not be as difficult. For the rest of us, it should be easy getting into the classroom, but quite difficult heading home. Early dismal at noon wouldn't help because snow could be falling moderately at that time. Of course, this isn't my call, but I hope this information helps those making it. The timing is subject to change so please check my latest forecast and twitter updates for any new information. If the storm slows a bit, then a full-day of school is more likely.

I'll also be updating many new pieces of information on Twitter @growingwisdom.



The storm will continue throughout the night on Thursday, ending by the wee hours of Friday morning. There could be some leftover snow showers Friday morning, but sunshine and seasonable temperatures will be in the forecast for the balance of the day.

The question on everyone’s mind is how much snow? I have heard some crazy numbers out there today ranging up to a foot of snow in Boston. This is patently false. One of the things that happen in these big storms, which cover a large area of the country, is non-meteorologists start speaking about the storm in ways they shouldn't. One possible accumulation forecast in some mountain area of West Virginia becomes how much the east coast is going to see. This is certainly a storm and for some, mostly south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it will be memorable, but not here.

Here’s my current thinking on how much snow. In Boston, based on a rather quick to change to rain around 3 inches of snow should fall. The amount of snow will then grow to around 6 inches by the time you reach Route 495 and increase to a foot over the northern and western sections of Worcester County. This entire map may change if the storm moves further west, (less snow) or further east (colder and more snow).
MA snow and rain thursday2.png

Although this isn't a blockbuster storm, it will impact travel and especially air travel. Airports up and down much of the eastern seaboard are going to be seeing many delays and cancellations the next 72 hours. With school vacation week starting Friday, it’s going be even more of challenge getting the airline system back to normal this coming weekend.

As the storm gains strength it will increase the winds off the water and along the coast we have some wind advisories issued. The heavy wet nature of the snow could create power issues inland and although the amount of snow won’t be huge, when you factor in the weight of the snow, it will impact travel quite a bit.

The heavy rain will cause some street flooding and if you have had issues with ice dams on your roof, there could be some water problems leaking into your home again as heavy rain moves in along the coast. I will update this forecast again during Wednesday morning with many more details and specifics.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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